A few questions about buying an unlocked iPhone 4S

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by dschima, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. dschima macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    Hi all, I'm moving to the UK in August for school and being the iPhone addict I am I deemed it necessary to have an iPhone while I'm across the pond. I recently found out that I'll need an unlocked iPhone in order to use it on England's mobile networks. I'm not too familiar with this territory so I was wondering if you all could help me out.

    If I simply go buy an unlocked iPhone from the Apple store, take it to England, set up a plan with Vodafone and pop a Vodafone sim card into my phone, will it work?
    When I return to the states can I just swap my Vodafone sim with my AT&T sim (assuming my number in the states is kept active) and continue using my phone in the states? Is it that straightforward?

    I've also heard from some sources that unlocked iPhones can't function on 3g networks? I find that hard to believe.

    I guess my other option is to keep my locked AT&T iphone 4 in the states and buy a new on-contract phone through Vodafone or O2 and go about my business that way.

    Any help is appreciated! Thanks!
  2. Shadowbech macrumors 601

    Oct 18, 2011
    Planet iPhone
    Yes it will work. When you come back to the State, it will work with AT&T as well.

    It should work on 3G network, unlike U.S the 3G on T-mobile won't work because of different frequencie. But you shouldn't have any issue with 3G in the U.K.
  3. blevins321 macrumors 68030

    Dec 24, 2010
    Winnipeg, MB
    You can do what you're thinking just fine with an unlocked 4S. The thing you heard about unlocked phones and 3G networks is probably using them on TMobile here in the US. 3G works in some places that have the latest networking tech, but most towers only provide Edge coverage on TMobile.
  4. dschima thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    Ok great! Thanks for your help!

    Also, will my phone have full functionality while I'm over there? Will I still get visual voicemail, push notifications, etc?
  5. lordofthereef macrumors G5


    Nov 29, 2011
    Boston, MA
    Visual voicemail is carrier dependent. The push notifications should be no issue.
  6. chestvrg macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2010
    It maybe more than expensive but well worth the price. I bought mine about less than a year ago directly at the Apple store. It was like $746 + taxes like $801 on a credit card, but no regrets. The. Result card I pay it back in like $280 payments and little by little it gets paid off.

    What happened is that when I bought my factory unlocked 4S they only had the AT&T version, but we kept reading on these forums that if bought at full price, Apple would sell you a full factory unlocked one and it was true. The. Like a month later, Apple began to sell the official factory unlocked one.

    Now, you can go to (I believe) any Apple store and purchase a factory unlocked 4S and it should run on most 3G networks, here in US it should pick up 3G on AT&T but tmobile, some people have reported getting 3G also, since tmobile is switching their 3G/HSPA+ frequencies to make them compatible on the 1900Mhz and leaving their unique 1700Mhz frequency for their upcoming LTE band. Back in Europe, you should be ok on Vodafone's 3G as long as the frequencies are 850,1900,2100 or ....I forget the other one...you should be fine, trust me there is only one 4S model released by Apple and the same model works on GSM and CDMA networks here in the US, so it is the same model in Europe or anywhere else in the world.

    Good luck on your new purchase :)
  7. dschima thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 11, 2008
    Ok great! Yeah I realize that it'll be costlier, but I think in the long run it'll be worth it (barring the fact that I lose or break the phone).

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